You are hereAmelia Curran
Wagon Wheel presented another memorable night at The Greystones tonight, featuring three diverse female singer-songwriters; two relatively local, both of whom prefer to perform under pseudonyms, Daughter of Frank and The Listeners respectively, whilst the headliner was none other than Newfoundland's Amelia Curran. I arrived relatively early enough in order to meet up with Amelia for a chat and was told that rather than staging some self-imposed backstage exile, the singer could instead be found out in the bar somewhere. I searched around for a while but couldn't spot the face I'd only previously known through the few scattered publicity shots dotted around here and there. Just as I was about to abandon my search I spotted a pair of familiar blue eyes peering up from beneath a 1920's style cloche hat. Sitting alone at a table like the heroine of Edward Hopper's Automat painting, huddled into her coat whilst her hands occupied themselves in the task of rolling a cigarette, I introduced myself. Soon afterwards Amelia excused herself and escaped to the designated smoking area in the cold dark outside, agreeing to have a chat with me in a couple of minutes, or in the time it takes to get to the warm end of her cigarette.
Upon her return, we found ourselves engaged in a luminous conversation about songs, writing, poetry and how important home is, especially when one is so far away from it. The bar was slightly noisy but it didn't prevent us from having a nice informative chat. I always find it much more interesting making an acquaintance with a complete stranger and with this being Amelia's first visit to The Greystones, we had a lot to catch up on.
Once onstage, Amelia performed an engaging solo set, equipped only with her sunburst Gibson acoustic and a catalogue of songs submitted to memory. Playing songs predominantly from her current album HUNTER, HUNTER, including Bye Bye Montreal, Wrecking Ball and Hands on a Grain of Sand, together with one or two from her previous release WAR BRIDES (2006) Scattered and Small and Love's Grave, Amelia seemed relaxed, brushing over the occasional false start with her wry humour, unfazed by the occasional rare lost chord. With the sort of quirky intelligence exemplified in someone like Annie Hall, it's not difficult to fall under this songwriter's spell.
With the one cover song, the unsentimental Chelsea Hotel No 2, written by fellow countryman Leonard Cohen about his affair with Janis Joplin, Amelia fearlessly charters the pragmatic waters of song, exemplified further in her own The Mistress, which the author claims is completely true except for the title.
Also on the bill tonight were Victoria Hogg, otherwise known as Daughter of Frank, who delivered a gritty thirty-minute set of self-penned songs and Emma Thorpe of The Listeners, whose Nico-seque chanteuse style of singing had the effect of settling the audience into relaxed repose allowing the songs to wash over and purify. Three extraordinarily good performances when all's said and done.